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10 Shocking Facts About Processed Food

10 Shocking Facts About Processed Food

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration defines “processed food” as “any food other than a raw agricultural commodity and includes any raw agricultural commodity that has been subject to processing, such as canning, cooking, freezing, dehydration, or milling.” By this definition, most food can be considered processed.

For purposes of this article though, when I say “processed food” I mean food that has been altered with artificial ingredients, fillers and chemical additives.

Because this is the stuff that’s making us fat, causing disease and taking years off our lives.

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Read these 10 facts about processed food and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. Let’s dig in.

70 percent of our calories now come from processed food.

It’s a sad fact that 7 out of every 10 foods that touch your mouth are altered with chemical ingredients, according to Melanie Warner, a former New York Times reporter who authored the book Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal.

Processed food is addictive.

There’s a reason you can’t stop eating all those sugary, salty snacks: they’re designed to keep you coming back. Processed foods stimulate dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter that lights up your brain in similar ways that drugs do. Food companies know this … and they actually engineer their products to have this effect. Journalist Michael Moss says in his book Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us:

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Some of the largest companies are now using brain scans to study how we react neurologically to certain foods, especially to sugar. They’ve discovered that the brain lights up for sugar the same way it does for cocaine.

Processed food is plentiful.

In Pandora’s Lunchbox, Melanie Warner talks about how there are now close to 5,000 additives allowed in our food. This number continues to grow year after year, too.

Processed foods have disgusting ingredients.

  • Titanium dioxide, which is commonly used in paints and sunscreens, is also found in many salad dressings, coffee creamers and cake icing.
  • One of the key ingredients in many canned and fast food chili is silicon dioxide, also known as sand.
  • Lanolin, an oily substance found in sheep’s wool, is an additive used in chewing gum.
  • Cellulose, which is actually ground-up wood pulp, is often used as an anti-caking agent in bagged cheeses.
  • Sodium bisulfite, a toilet bowl cleaning chemical, is also used in potato chips.

Processed food will kill you.

Perhaps most troubling is the fact that eating a diet high in processed foods has been proven to take years off your life. Pretty good incentive to eat more real food, if you ask me.

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Processed foods will make you fat.

Research shows the “Western Diet”, which is prevalent in countries like the U.S., Great Britain and Australia, will make you fat. Potato chips, sugar-sweetened beverages, refined grains, and sugary snacks, in particular, are the four processed foods that cause you to gain the most weight over time.

Processed foods have been a root cause of nearly every modern disease.

A comprehensive research review of 172 clinical studies published in the Journal of American Clinical Nutrition concluded that virtually all chronic diseases are partially caused by our modern diet of engineered foods.

Eating processed foods will make it harder for you to burn calories.

Eating a diet high in processed food causes your body to burn fewer calories—50 percent fewer, to be exact.

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Processed foods cause imbalances in your gut.

The microorganisms living in your digestive tract form an important “inner ecosystem” that influences many aspects of your health. Processed foods disrupt the microorganisms in your digestive tract, which can lead to serious problems.

Processed meats may cause cancer.

Bacon, ham, pastrami, salami, pepperoni, hot dogs, and sausages may be delicious … but the effects of eating these processed meats can be devastating. Studies show eating them can significantly increase your odds of developing heart disease and type II diabetes and may take years off your life.

If these 10 things sound like good reasons to stop eating processed foods, start working on changing those bad habits into good ones. Take it slow, phase out one food at a time and you’ll change your health and your life.

Featured photo credit: Let Ideas Compete via flickr.com

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Scott Christ

Scott Christ is a writer, entrepreneur, and founder of Pure Food Company.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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